Yacht Towing Tips
Denis Korablev
  • 30.06.2020
  • 152

Yacht Towing Tips

Sooner or later, every yachtsman has to need to be towed - from one end or the other. Towing accidents show that it is not easy to do, especially in difficult weather conditions and when it comes to small yachts. Our advice will help skippers avoid accidents when towing yachts.

Good Maritime Practice will be required on the high seas, and only 1-2 Basic Principles will need to be adhered to in the harbor. Each new towing will be different from the other, and decisions should be made based on the prevailing situation.

It does not matter why your vessel was towed (for example, a fishing boat pulled you out of the silt, the nearest vessel saved you from being thrown to the leeward shore, or your friend responded to a request for help due to the fuel that ran out of calm), the actions of the towing vehicle and that's it his maneuvers must be carefully thought out and weighed.

Often, towing is required due to failure of the steering device or loss of the rudder blade. A yacht without a rudder is a problem, because during the towing process it yawns from side to another - towing a special floating anchor (drogue) behind the stern of the vessel will help bring it into a more or less stable state. This technique is used in cases where long-term towing is required in case of wind and on a large passing wave, on which the slave vessel can planes, causing great inconvenience. As a rule, the drogue is released from the very beginning, and the rope is slightly etched, taking the rest on the duck, so that in the future you can release it as needed.

According to specialists 2yachts, there are 2 main ways of towing a vessel - in the wake (attached to the stern on a large cable length) and log (when attaching the sides of the ships to each other). When using the lagom method, the towing speed is much lower. The tow rope should be as long as possible (at least 2-3 yacht lengths), ideally if it is nylon, elastic and durable. In practice, the length of the cable must be limited in case of a danger of winding it around the screw, grazing the bottom of the reservoir, etc.

At low waves, the cable should be sized so that both vessels can rise to the crests and descend from the waves at the same time - that is, its length should be equal to the length of one or more waves. Only under this condition will the tension be able to remain constant and it will be possible to avoid blows to the stern of the leading vessel when rolling off the wave.

It is necessary to feed the towing end from the stern of the towing vehicle, since there may be no cable at all on the driven yacht. In case of strong excitement, when it can be dangerous to approach the yacht, you will need a throwing end - a loaded light cable of a short length, it is possible to submit a tug with its help even from a long distance. You can also end it by using a lifebuoy, a bunch of empty fuel containers and other floating objects. The towing vehicle must be suitable to feed the cable from the leeward side and preferably in reverse, if necessary, errors in calculating the distance when approaching can be corrected by adjusting the approach speed in forward. For towing with a log, approach it only from the leeward side to avoid bulkheads and impacts.

When it comes to providing assistance to a ship in distress, the first step is to free people from water captivity. First of all rescue the crew members on the water and those who are farther away than others under the wind. If it is not possible to immediately take people on board, life-saving appliances are thrown at them to help them stay on the water. When rescuing the crew of an overturned sailing dinghy, they approach its bow or stern against the wind, people are taken aboard with the help of the end fed to the ship.

Securing the cable when towing "into the wake"

Attach the cable to the towing vessel as close as possible to the center of gravity (to avoid deterioration of controllability) and along its midline. In the absence of a sufficiently reliable bitt, you can lay the cable for two mooring bollards on the sides or two cleats. It is unacceptable to attach only to one of the bollards.

If you doubt the strength of the bollards or ducks at the stern, you can grab the wheelhouse with a cable (only if the strength of its structure is sufficient!) and lay it behind the bow biting or the mooring duck. This positioning of the line will ensure good handling. First of all, attention should be paid to protecting the cable from chafing (wrap it with canvas, other wear-resistant material, etc.).

On the driven yacht, the cable should also be attached along the line of symmetry and closer to the center of gravity. Fastening is possible for the bow duck, on sailboats - for the mast at the deck, attaching it to the bitten with a thin rope. The most reliable one can be called the fixing with the help of the wash - the cable, circled around the body; such an attachment is indispensable when towing a half-submerged yacht or when pulling a vessel that has unsuccessfully run aground. The towing (unnamed) and boat assemblies should be used, since they do not tighten when the load increases and do not spontaneously kick in with jerks and a temporary decrease in tension. For an emergency quick return of the tug, it is always necessary to have a knife or an ax at hand.

Lagged towing cable attachment

When towing side by side, in the case of vessels of similar length, one end should be fed from the side of the leading vessel to the stern of the slave, and the other, on the contrary, opposite the first. Also, there is a reliable connection of vessels in the bow and stern with mooring lines, directed "straight" - so that the vessels do not diverge when turning . In the case of vessels of the same length, the cables are fed from the stern and bow of the smaller vessel in a "pedal" manner to the stern and bow of the larger one. Always attach fenders to the sides or anything that can fulfill their function.

When towing a smaller vessel, dock it closer to the stern of the towed vessel when mooring. If towing a large vessel, it will be necessary to pay close attention to the smaller vessel when turning, which may start to heel if it collapses.

The basic rules for towing are correct speed control and cornering. To prevent a sharp jerk at the beginning of towing with the possibility of breaking the cable, you should first give the towed yacht the slowest speed, then, as soon as the cable is stretched, stop the course. After loosening the cable, you need to give a slow speed again, gradually increasing the speed as the towed vessel begins to move.

The maximum possible speed when towing is determined by the strength of the cable, hulls and fastenings of ships, their controllability and other factors. It is necessary to take into account the wind speed, the effects of waves and currents, constantly observing the condition of the cable and the behavior of the towed yacht. It is necessary to enter the turns at a slower than usual speed and with a lower steering angle. The position of the vessel being towed should be adjusted so that it moves along the outer edge of the wake. Strong overshoot of the driven yacht should be avoided as it can be fatal to the boat.

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